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What we breathe can be toxic.

Our air is a complex soup of ingredients – which impacts the health of all of us, our economy, and our climate. But those health burdens are not shared equally. They disproportionately impact children, the elderly, and lower-income or historically marginalized communities.

It's nickname is "Pew Town".

About 100 miles south of Denver, Pueblo is known for many things, including the moniker “Steel City'' because it was one of the largest steel producers west of the Mississippi. It is also ranked as having the highest environmental health risk of any city in Colorado. The industrial legacy has shaped a proud community identity. But it's lurking enemy is air pollution. 

"We have a responsibility to consider the impacts of our decisions on the next seven generations."

So many factors contribute to poor air quality, including increasing population density, emissions from industrial processes, transportation, wildfires, natural weather phenomena, impacts from neighboring regions - the list goes on. For years Colorado has been struggling to get air pollution under control. But when emotions are high, people’s health is at risk, and tradeoffs need to be made, how do we solve this complex problem?

Jamie Valdez, Colorado Senior Organizer, Mothers Out Front
Michael Ogletree, Division Director for the Air Pollution Control Division of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment
Dr. Lisa Cicutto, Director, Community Outreach and Research at National Jewish Health

Further Reading

"Colorado's Unrelenting Ozone Pollution Could Mean Long-Term Problems For Your Health," CPR News, July 30, 2021.

"The Brown Cloud: Denver air quality concerns date back to 1800s," The Denver Gazette, April 15, 2021.

Pueblo County: A StoryMap of the CO Environmental Justice Storytelling Project," CDPHE, June 28, 2022.

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